Lightning strikes two people at Dead Horse Point State Park

Jun 25, 2021, 12:03 PM
Grand County Utah...
Dead Horse Point over Colorado River and Canyonlands at sunset – Utah, USA. Thunderstorms can pop up quickly with little warning in the area. Photo: Getty Images

MOAB, Utah — Two people are in the hospital after being struck by lightning at Dead Horse Point State Park.

Grand County authorities say they got a call at 5:31 p.m. Thursday about a lightning strike. Two Grand County EMS ambulances and a sheriff’s deputy responded, as well as two EMTs from nearby Canyonlands National Park.

The first ambulance arrived within about a half-hour to the West Rim Trail. They say bystanders had been helping the victims, and at the time both patients were in critical but stable condition.

Rescue crews took the two to Moab Regional Hospital. But the information from Grand County says they flew them later to a higher level trauma center for further care.

That area of the park is an overlook with stunning views, but it is high and quite exposed on the ridgeline to the elements. Thursday’s weather included on and off rain and thunderstorms.

Friday morning, Dead Horse Point State Park’s Facebook page posted that thunderstorms are a common event for them. They shared a post with advice on how to stay safe, including:

  • Know before you go—check the forecast ahead of your trip.
  • When thunder roars, go indoors—seek shelter in a building, or a hard-topped vehicle with windows up. Ledges, overhangs, and open-sided structures will not protect you from electrical storms.
  • Beware of falling rocks and flash floods—rain can dislodge rocks on trail and swell the mighty river below.
  • Remember, desert storms are vital to the ecosystem. They can be dangerous, but they are also life-giving!

In June 2019, Scott Robinson and his daughter Chloe were both struck by lightning during a church youth group activity in Fillmore, Utah. They spent some time in the burn unit recovering, and attributed their survival to the quick work of bystanders and rescue crews.

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Lightning strikes two people at Dead Horse Point State Park